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It is only given to very few people to be the principal figure in three Old Bailey trials, before three different judges, and at three consecutive court sessions, all in one year. This is one of the fascinations of the Oscar Wilde trials of 1895. In addition, they embodied celebrity, sex, humorous dialogue, outstanding displays of advocacy, political intrigue, together with issues of art and morality. All these combined to ensure that trials remain memorable.
Wilde's prosecution of the Marquess of Queensberry from criminal libel, and later, his own prosecution for 'gross indecency', reveal a complex person at odds with a class-centred and morally ambiguous Victorian society. This work considers these famous trials in chronological sequence and invites the reader to participate as both observer and potential juror in the proceedings.
Finally, the reader is encouraged to consider the evidence presented at each of the trials, to arrive at their own conclusions. This work will be of particular interest to law students in regard to the advocacy skills so skilfully demonstrated by the respective counsel. It also caters for the general reader with a particular interest in the presentation of criminal cases in the courts in England.